Chapelwaite’s Co-Creator Reveals The Key To Adapting Stephen King’s Jerusalem’s Lot

There is a special quality to the works of Stephen King that make them very attractive to filmmakers – hence the decades of movies and television shows based on his books – but the new Epix series Chapelwaite is notably adapted from a short that really doesn’t lend itself to adaptation. First published in the 1975 collection Night Shift, “Jerusalem’s Lot” is a sincerely creepy tale with Lovecraftian overtones, but it also only has two primary characters and is written as an epistolary story that plays out across a series of letters primarily written by the protagonist.

In the making of the show, the Chapelwaite writers and producers took on one hell of a task working to mold the material for live action – but as I recently learned from interviewing the filmmakers, the key was just to focus in on the right elements from the Stephen King short story.

As you can see in the video up top, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Chapelwaite co-creators Jason and Peter Filardi and producer Donald De Line during the recent virtual press day for the series. Recognizing the natural challenge in adapting “Jerusalem’s Lot,” I asked about the process adapting the work, and Jason Filardi explained that the most important move with the source material was to hone in on the family legacy of the protagonist and his reputation-driven sour relationship with his neighbors in town:

Well, I think the nugget of the idea is in the short story already... You have a man coming to a home that he's inherited and it's this... I always looked at as kind of like an Edgar Allen Poe-esque type of scenario. I know there's a Lovecraft theme and all that, but I was envisioned it as Poe. And this guy is realizing that that the Boone name is not exactly a popular one around town, that they're blamed for sorts of all sorts of things. And so that was the nugget that we really liked, and [we] knew that we could take that and expand outwards, which we had to quite [a lot].

Changing things from Stephen King’s “Jerusalem’s Lot,” Chapelwaite adapts Adrien Brody’s Captain Charles Boone as a widower and a father of three instead of a bachelor, and the ensemble is further expanded when he hires a governess (Emily Hampshire) to take care of his children – a woman with her own secret motives. What remains the same, however, is Charles’ journey to the Boone’s ancestral home in the town of Preacher’s Corners, Maine, which has a dark history that has resulted in ire aimed towards his family name. It creates a creepy, hostile atmosphere in the text, and it’s important material that is translated to live-action.

Expanding on Jason Filardi’s comment, Donald De Line added that while there are a number of original ideas in play in Chapelwaite, Stephen King provided the important foundation upon which the series is built. Said the filmmaker,

[Stephen] King set the table, he opened the door for that, because it's all about the legacy of his family. So it was like an easy door to enter and really then kind of expand upon.

Audiences will be able to experience the horrific, worm-filled terror of Chapelwaite in just a few days, as the premiere is set to air on Epix this Sunday, August 22 at 10pm PT/ET. And if that’s just not enough for you, the first three episodes will be available to watch on both VOD and the Epix Now app. To learn about all of the other Stephen King adaptations that are heading to big and small screens soon, head on over to our Upcoming Stephen King guide.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.